Washington’s Republicans and Democrats are haggling over how to finance higher education, including details like the interest rates that students pay for loans. Recent graduates, who are burdened with an average of $26,000 in loans, are watching the debate closely. But some economists say the real issue is controlling the soaring cost of college at a time when post-secondary schooling is crucial to getting a good job and a middle class salary. Experts say these high costs are hurting the whole economy, not just students and their families.

美国共和民主两党在华盛顿讨价还价,争论如何资助高等教育,包括学生贷款利率等细节。美国的新毕业生平均背负2万6000美元贷款,他们正在密切关注这场争论。不过,一些经济学家说,真正的问题是控制不断上涨的学费。今天,要得到一份好的工作和中产阶级的收入,接受高等教育是关键。专家说,昂贵的学费不仅伤害学生和家庭,而且损害了整个经济。

Joshua Jordan earned a doctorate degree in physical therapy. He hopes to open his own practice someday, and says having the expensive graduate degree is good for his patients - but hard on his wallet.

约书亚 乔丹获得了物理疗法博士学位,他希望有一天开设自己的诊所,他说,拥有一个高价学位让父母骄傲,可是却他囊中羞涩。

“I am currently in debt for $210,000,” he said.

乔丹说:“目前我负债21万。”

Jordan’s loans are eight times larger than those of the average student. He says it might take him 20 years to pay them off, and he sometimes has had to work two jobs concurrently to meet his bills.

乔丹的贷款超过学生平均贷款的8倍,他说,这可能要20年才能还清,为了付账单,有时他不得不打2份工。

For the past 30 years, college tuition has been going up at twice the rate of inflation, and private colleges now charge an average of more than $30,000 a year.

过去30年来,学费的涨幅是通货膨胀的2倍,私立学校的学费现在平均为每年3万美元。

Universities say they’re caught between record-high enrollments, a workforce of professors who have the skills to find work elsewhere if they are not well paid, and falling financial support from state governments.

大专院校表示,他们左右为难,一方面入学率达到新高,如果薪水不好,教授们可以另谋高就,另一方面州政府的资助又不断减少。

Terry Hartle speaks for The American Council on Education which represents thousands of colleges and universities across the United States.

特里 哈特尔是美国教育理事会成员,这个机构代表全美国数千所大专院校。

"It’s a terrible conundrum that we face as a country. We want more and more post-secondary education. We want more focus on academic quality and graduation. At the same time, the funding sources for higher education have been diminishing for a generation," said Hartle.

他说:“这是我们国家面对的一个可怕难题,我们希望增加高等教育,我们希望提高学术质量和毕业生水平,可与此同时,高等教育资金来源却不断减少。”

While these students made it to graduation, experts worry the high cost of college makes it less likely that bright students from poor families will attend college, depriving the economy of some of the scientists, engineers and others who could help boost growth.

虽然这些学生毕业了,可是专家担心,昂贵的学费可能会把那些来自穷困家庭的优秀学生挡在校门外,让国家失去一批能够帮助经济发展的未来科学家和工程师等人才。

And a survey shows that some students concerned about repaying thousands of dollars in loans are putting off marriage, children, and the major purchases that usually go along with forming a family.

一项调查显示,一些学生因为担心偿还沉重的贷款,而推迟结婚生子,避免建立家庭所需的重大开支。

Peter Mazareas, who is with the College Savings Foundation, said, "These students will not contribute to the economy. They will go home and live at home. They won’t buy cars. They won’t invest in housing, so there is a real multiplier effect that is short term."

彼得 马泽里斯在大学储蓄基金会工作。他说:“这些学生不会为经济做贡献,他们将回家,和父母住在一起,他们不会买车,不会投资房产,所以短期内会有一个倍数效应。”

Georgetown University Labor Economist Anthony Carnevale said the current system is unsustainable for families and cuts economic growth for the whole country.

乔治城大学劳工经济学家安东尼 卡内瓦说,现有体制对家庭没有支撑作用,而且会损害整个国家经济发展。

"The effects on economic growth [of failing to produce post secondary talent] are substantial. If we had kept up with demand for post secondary talent, economists estimate that we would be at about $500 billion more per year in gross domestic product, that is people would have more money to spend. There would have been a higher productivity rate," said Carnevale.

卡内瓦说:“这种状况对经济发展有很大影响,经济学家估计,如果我们能满足社会对大专院校人才的需求,那么每年的国民经济产值就会增加5千亿美元,民众就会有更多的钱花,生产力就会提高。”

Meanwhile, Jordan said his family is not wealthy and could not have paid for so many years in so many colleges on the way to a PhD.

乔丹说,他家不富裕,不能为他支付多年来为了获得博士学位而上的那么多学校的学费。

“There would have been no way I could have created a career for myself that I wanted to do without the use of student loans,” he said.

他说:“不靠学生贷款,我不可能创立我想要的职业生涯。”

So for him, it is worth it.

所以对他来说,这一切都值得。